According to the Daily Mail, Australian supermarket giant Woolworths has been accused of racial discrimination after shoppers saw signs in Mandarin and English that had different baby formula tin buying limits.

Formula signs. 750x 516px.
Image source: Facebook\7 news


Customers have posted photos of the signs both in Mandarin and English clearly showing two different purchasing limits.

According to the Daily Mail, the sign written in English states; ‘Due to supply issues, sales quantities are limited to four units per customers for Infant Formula. We are working hard to be back in full supply as soon as possible,’ the tickets, spotted across Australia this month, read in English.

However, the ticket beside it written in Mandarin, the most common Chinese language, informs customers they are unable to buy more than two.

Formula 1. Image source: Facebook\7 news
Image source: Facebook\7 news


Woolworths have responded to the accusations, by calling the signs a ‘ticketing error’.  The supermarket responded on social media to concerned shopper’s demands for an answer, “We apologise for this ticketing error,’ they said, ‘This was rectified and new signage with the correct formula limit is at all stores.’

A range of various social media complaints have been received by Woolworths regarding the signage.

formula 2 Image source: Facebook\7 news
Image source: Facebook\7 news


 One complaint to the Woolworths Facebook page by a Chinese Australian mother stated that an employee that she could not buy more than two tins of baby formula.

‘Your policy said four tins per customer. But while I made purchase today I was told by your staff it’s two per customer,’ the mother wrote.

‘I felt it’s race discrimination as no sign had been put in store. The staff told me that her manager advised her it is two.‘I will treat this as race discrimination if it’s not official written policy.’

The Herald Sun has been told by Woolworths spokesman Russell Mahooney that the “ticketing was an error and that they had been ordered to be removed and destroyed earlier this month.” With customers still spotting the tickets in recent days, Mr Mahoney said “stores would again be asked to remove the tickets.He said all customers would still have been able to purchase up to four tins.”

The shortage of baby formula has been noticeable to many parents across Australia as a result of the rising demand for the product in China.

The tins have reportedly been bought in bulk and shipped to China at a higher cost – some are available on sites such as EBay for $200 AUD.


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  • That is happening in some states when babies need lactose free formula.
    I know a Mum who rang several stores one day and drove for an hour to get formula for her baby. When she went to visit friends there was some at their store so she got her limit to save long distance travel just to buy her baby’s formula.


  • As a mother of a child with dietary intolerances, purchasing formula did prove difficult at times. She could only have one type of formula and sometimes we would have to go to several stores or call around. At that time thankfully we were not affected by the current issues with formula being purchased to sell overseas.


  • I personally think it’s not discrimination at all l have heard of Chinese people buying heaps of tin’s of formula & sending back to china. Because they know our formula is 100% better than they can get in there own country and our formula is alot cheaper to buy & ship back to China. My supermarket had 1 sign for all at one stage one can per person for a while that’s all we could get because Chinese people & Australian people were shipping it back to china for a profit our own children were going without because of this behaviour and l don’t think it’s fair So Woolworth’s is in the right But that is my opinion


  • bad choice and bad decision ;/


  • Surely they would make sure that the signs were the same. Not good for Woolworths


  • Lke ge


  • Surely they wouldn’t intentionally do something so silly; either way it’s not a good look.

    • Many of the big stores are doing things that do not look good and it is such a shame.


  • It’s hard to believe they could be so stupid as to do this intentionally.


  • This saga around formula continues and there seems to be a new story each week.


  • Surely wouldn’t you make sure you know what the policy is before any signs are put out. Very confusing …..


  • Not good Woolworth. The limit should be the same for everyone


  • Unbelievable!! What a weird decision they made!!


  • yeah this whole situation is rediculous! with woolies selling directly to china now. thoses people won’t be making a “living” from selling formula. every place has ramped up production.


  • Tha does sound just as said here – racist.


  • I understand that there is a shortage and I myself have had trouble finding my sins formula but discrimination is not the answer


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